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Dear Urban Diplomat: Can my landlord hike my rent because I have a dog?

When I moved into my apartment, the second floor of a Victorian semi, I signed a lease with a no-pets clause. Soon after, my brother scored a one-year work contract in the States and asked me to look after his corgi. I kept Trixie on the DL for a while (my landlord lives out of town), but a new neighbour recently ratted me out. Now, my landlord’s insisting I pay a $50 monthly fee to cover potential damages. If I don’t pony up, he says he’ll evict me for breaching my lease conditions. Do his threats have teeth?

All Bark, No Bite, Annex

No-pet clauses are a lot like the King streetcar during rush hour: useless. In this case, your landlord can’t legally evict you, regardless of what your lease says, unless Trixie causes property damage that you don’t repair, barks incessantly or poses a physical threat (not likely if she’s a corgi). The monthly fee, for its part, is bunk. It can’t be demanded according to the patron saints of renter fairness at the Landlord and Tenant Board. But I hope that poochy’s well behaved. If the unit’s in bad shape when you move out, your landlord can sue you for the damages.

Send your questions to the Urban Diplomat at urbandiplomat@torontolife.com

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